Urgent Medical Concerns

Medical Services assists Columbia students with urgent medical concerns. We recognize there are times when a sudden, serious illness, or injury may require immediate care.

Upon Arrival

Medical Services is located on the fourth floor of John Jay Hall.

  • Check-in at the kiosks if you have a scheduled appointment.
  • If you require an appointment, complete a brief Reason for Visit form at the reception area.
  • Students experiencing an acute condition (e.g., chest pain, shortness of breath, or severe abdominal pain), should inform the desk assistant immediately.

Students are seen in order of severity of illness, which may mean a wait to see a clinician. During peak hours—11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and after 5:00 PM—students may experience what feels like a considerable wait. We appreciate students’ cooperation and patience.

We encourage students to make an appointment online at secure.health.columbia.edu with their primary care physician or one of the physician’s team members. Appointments are available in advance via on a 24-hour rolling window.

Rarely, students have conditions that cannot be fully evaluated or treated at Medical Services. In these instances, arrangements are promptly made for students to be transferred to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Room or to be given a referral to see a specialist located outside of Columbia Health.

Know Your Coverage: Read your plan policy carefully to understand what services will be covered during an emergency before you need them.

After-hours Emergencies and Same-day Concerns

  • Off campus, dial 911.
  • On campus, call Public Safety at 212-854-5555.
  • The nearest emergency room is Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Room at 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue; it is open 24 hours a day.
  • If students have an urgent concern after clinic hours, contact the clinician-on-call at 212-854-7426. Our expert telephone triage specialists will assess concerns and provide recommendations for care. If there is any difficulty with contacting our clinician-on-call, students may also call 855-779-7132 to speak with a triage specialist.

Laboratory Services

Many laboratory tests for routine medical conditions are drawn on-site. Specialized testing is sent to an off-site laboratory (LabCorp) and is subject to co-payments and fees determined by insurance carriers. 

If lab tests are requested by an outside provider, we encourage students to have the specialist draw the labs or schedule a visit with an in-network facility covered by their insurance. Check the lab hours, which vary during the academic term and summer recess.

Radiology Services

X-rays and other types of diagnostic imaging are usually performed at nearby West Side Radiology. The cost to the student depends on their insurance coverage.


The Columbia Health and Related Services Fee covers visits to Medical Services. For students not enrolled in Columbia Health, a fee will be charged per visit.

For more information about the costs for care, read our Cost of Service page.

Insurance Coverage

Medical Services serves as the primary care provider for all students who carry the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan and also for all students enrolled in Columbia Health. All visits to Medical Services, including same-day walk-ins, are made available to students enrolled in Columbia Health. There is no limit to the frequency or total number of on-campus medical visits.

For visits to outside specialists, students should arrange a consultation with their primary care provider, who may offer a referral. Outside specialists within the Aetna network, if needed, are covered under the Columbia Plan. A referral is required for all visits to outside providers and is required in advance of the visit, so plan accordingly.

To obtain a referral, students should schedule an appointment to be evaluated by their primary care physician. Referrals are written at the discretion of providers at the time of the visit, based on medical condition. Students who have their own medical insurance will be covered for medical services as determined by their individual carrier.